How to improve your credit score and your chance of approval
Increase your chance of approval in 6 easy steps.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
A low credit score (below 550) means you're less likely to be approved for a credit card or loan. But don't panic! You can improve your score and your chances of approval by following these steps.
1. Always pay bills on time
Bills that are more than 60 days overdue will appear on your credit report as defaults. Those stay on your report for five years, which will make it harder for you to get credit. If you're having issues paying a bill, talk to your provider early and negotiate a payment plan.
2. Cancel unused credit cards
Credit cards that aren't being used won't improve your chances of getting another card or loan, since they represent potential debt you could incur. So if you're not using the card, cancel it. Not sure how to cancel? Check Finder's detailed guide.
3. Pay down credit card debts
Many credit cards charge high interest rates. Clearing existing debt will improve your finances and your options for future credit. Devote as much money as you can each month to paying off any credit card debt. A 0% balance transfer can help you pay off your credit card faster.
4. Lower your credit card limit
If you regularly pay off your credit card balance but don't use most of your available credit, contact your financial institution and ask to have your limit lowered. Again, that reduces your potential debt level and improves your chances of success.
5. Check your credit report for errors
It doesn't happen often, but defaults can end up mistakenly reported on your file. So check the details on your credit report and make sure they're accurate. If not, contact the issuing service and seek a correction. In complex cases, a credit repair agency may be worth using.
6. Don't apply again until your score improves
Multiple applications for credit cards or loans can drive your score down. Be patient and keep track of your score, and hold off applying until your chance of approval goes up.
How can I track my credit score?
Use the Finder app to track your credit score easily and for free. The app also highlights ways to cut your current expenses, find better loans and credit cards and earn more interest. It's available for both iPhone and Android.
More guides on Finder
Finder Daily Deals: The 7 best deals in Australia today
Today's best online deals include: 75% off MyGenie Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaners, $30 off Apple iPad Minis, $220 off Dyson V7 vacuums.
Lockdown scam risks rise: Expert tips to avoid the biggest cons
Big spikes in cybercrime, more time working from home and sneaky tactics have seen scammers target more people during the pandemic – but you can stop them.
Nexo review: Is it safe for high interest returns?
Nexo is a cryptocurrency lending and borrowing platform that offers high interest rates on cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and fiat. We review the features available and look at how safe your funds would be on the platform.
CBA’s new 0.99% green home loan: Who’s eligible + how to get it
CommBank has launched its 0.99% green loan following a pilot in February this year. Here’s how to get this ultra-low home loan rate.
How to redeem your PS5 Apple TV+ 6-month free trial in Australia
Here's how to redeem the PlayStation 5 free six months of Apple TV+ deal.
Citi Clear Credit Card – Exclusive Offer
This Citi Clear Credit Card offer includes 0% on balance transfers for 28 months and a reduced first-year annual fee. Compare and apply here.
First Home Buyer’s e-Course Module 1
First home buyers, kick off your journey to home ownership! To take your first step, it starts with you: what is your situation right now?
ANZ Rewards Platinum – Exclusive Offer
This card offers a competitive rewards program, 150,000 bonus ANZ Reward Points, a first-year annual fee waiver and a range of complimentary insurance covers.
BankSA Vertigo – Cashback Offer
The BankSA Vertigo card offers $300 cashback, a waived first-year annual fee and a low ongoing purchase interest rate.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Card – Cashback Offer
Compare the features of the Bank of Melbourne Vertigo credit card, including a $0 first-year annual fee and a $300 cashback.
Ask an Expert